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Third grader spearheads donations campaign to help refugees

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Olive Cicon

Olive Cicon may only be 9 years old, but the Tracy resident already has amassed a team of volunteers to assist refugees and other special immigrants as part of her "passion project"--and she's giving $5 of her own money to kick off her campaign.

The following interview between Olive and her mother, Nettie Cicon, details how Olive plans to assist beneficiaries from the International Rescue Committee in Turlock/Modesto, and how others can help:  

Olive: Hi. My name is Olive Rose Cicon. I’m 9 years old and I normally go to Delta Charter School, but I’m home like the rest of you.

Mom: What unique project are you working on for homeschool right now?

Olive: I am working on a passion project with the IRC which stands for International Rescue Committee.

Mom: And what is a passion project?

Olive: A passion project is a thing where you help to make your world a better place by doing something to help .

Mom: So what is your project and why did you pick it?

Olive: I picked this project because I'm going to tell you a story about it. Once we were coming home from church, and I saw a homeless family on the street and then I was thinking, hey, we should give them one of those hygiene kits. My mom and sister had made them at church once, but we had run out of them in our car so we went back to the house to get them. By the time we got back, the homeless family was gone and I started crying. We drove all around, but they still weren't there. That experience pushed me to keep trying to help families stay off the street, and my mom helped me get to know this group that works with refugee families to help them find jobs, homes, provides food and clothing to help them get settled and start a life here.

Mom: What help do you need?

Olive: I’m looking for help in 4 areas so pick one!

1) If you have sewing abilities, the IRC in our area needs masks sewn for refugee families to help them get through this COVID-19 time. My goal is to get 50 for them. My mom is not much of a sewer, so we really need help on that one.

2) I also need volunteers with vans or trucks that could help monthly to deliver food picked up from the (Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints) Bishop’s Storehouse in Stockton and brought to 3 to 4 homes in the Modesto and Turlock area. That’s just once a month. My mom and I will be one driver, but we need to find 3 more trucks or vans.

3) I also need 2 or 3 trucks for a one-time delivery to pick up items from the Sacramento Deseret Industries thrift store and bring them to the families in Modesto and Turlock.

4) And lastly, they are always accepting money donations to help support the families they serve. I’m giving $5 of my own money and hope some of you could do the same.

Want to help Olive with her passion project? Contact Jonathan Partridge at Jonathan.Partridge [at] rescue.org or 209-272-0751 for more information.